The habitats, relative occurrence, and distribution of the white whale in the White Sea and the southeastern Barents sea in every month of the ice season have been studied using the results of an aerial ice survey along standard routes from 1970–1991. In these seas, white whales have been found in each month of the ice season, with single animals, “groups,” “schools” or “gams,” “herds,” and large congregations of several hundred animals accounting for 10, 22.8, 47.2, 12.9, and 7% of all aggregations of white whales observed, respectively. The relative occurrence of white whales in the White Sea is higher in March and May (32.5 and 30%, respectively) and lower in February, January, and November (15, 10, and 7.5%, respectively); in December and April, the whales are observed very seldom (2.5% in both months). In the southeastern Barents Sea, the relative occurrence of white whales is highest in May (53.3%) and considerably lower in December and February (16.7 and 10%); only a few animals are found during the remaining ice season. Regarding different habitats, the relative occurrences of white whales in open water, in water openings in the ice, near the edge of pack ice, and in ice packs with different degrees of closeness are 21.5, 11.4, 45.7, and 21.4%, respectively.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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